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San Francisco 12, Us 6, Sugaya 4, Crestline 3, Antonini 3, Moore 2, Tim Colin 2, Farrell 1, Burnett 1, Brian Brown Berger 1, Berry 1, Coyote 1, Corbett 1, Catholic Deacon 1, Landscaping 1, Shelly Bradford Bell 1, Todd David 1, Rodrigo Sanchez 1, Curved 1, Landscaped 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    December 4, 2012
    8:00 - 8:30am PST  

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hi, my name is brian brown berger and i live on park ridge drive which is right below crestline for over 21 years. and i want to share briefly an experience i had two months ago. i jog in the morning and as i was coming up the smaller set of bottom stairs leading to the bigger upper stairs, when coming from the under brush of this contested lot, i saw a coyote. i've seen racoons, pos onlies and yes, skunks, but this was the first time i had ever seen a coyote less than 50 fetus from me. we stared at each other out of shock or astonishment. i knew it was a coyote. a woman had photographed a coyote at twin peaks. she had an art show at the presidio and i went and saw those remarkable pictures. of course, this is a minor miracle that there would be any coyotes still able to sub survive in san francisco today. just as i was standing there in
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total awe and amazement, two tourists, i believe a couple speaking german, were starting to come down the stairs from the top and noticed the coyote and stopped dead in their tracks and they gripped each other's arms when they realized what they were seeing and there were tears in their ayes. all four of us, including the coyote just stood there in a silence i can only describe as sacred or spiritual. i am an ordained roman catholic deacon, and i know a holy moment when i experience it. and then the coyote vanished back in the thicket on that contested land. i would say this wondrous incident crystallizes the vision of the developers [speaker not understood]. they have a very small piece of open land where human beings and nature can encounter each other and we're reminded there is something bigger than ourselves. it is so precious and rare because it speaks to our better nature and our higher ideals.
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every single open space however small has been developed on corbett and burnett. this in san francisco is the one remaining track where that quiet tranquility which nurtures our souls is still possible in this bustling and noisy city. i take the corbett bus which is increasingly becoming like a tourist bus because so many foreign visitors arrive to climb the stairs to the top of twin peaks to witness that gorgeous panoramic view of san francisco and the entire bay area. many of them walk down the stairs on their way back to catch the 37 corbett at the bottom of park ridge and their last glimpse of the beauty revealed to them was the once pretty brush and wild plants and shrubbery cover on this contestedth land. about a month and a half ago, all thes are berry vines and lovely bushes and trees were brutally removed by the owner of 70 crestline. all that remains is dirt and debris.
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i don't know whether it will show up. * but anyway, for the long hard rainy season predicted this could potentially cause a mud slide. >> sir, your three minutes are up. i hope you will reject this proposal. thank you. >> thank you. good evening, commissioners. [speaker not understood] here to speak on behalf of this project. one thing that i really wanted to do tonight with my time was emphasize that this is not the same project that was submitted in 1998. that project was withdrawn. you can see that on the overhead here. this is most definitely not that project. the project team, having faced difficulty with this design,
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they failed to choose approval for their variance. they scrapped it and came back with a new design. you are seeing that design tonight. everyone has talked about it. but i just want to remind you that this is not the same project. the project architect worked very closely with planning staff over the course of four years to come up with the design that is before you today. this is in my opinion a good design. it does not require a variance. it is an excellent example of well design infill which we desperately need in san francisco. after four years of design work, the team was informed that this project was not compatible with the site because of the open space that it provided. however, the open space is not
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part of the original design of the 1965 vista francisco development. we have done the title search. there are no srs on this property. we searched all the records. no open space was established as a condition of approval for the original construction in 1965. we believe that this project is a good infill project. it is well designed. the design team worked closely with planning staff to come up with this project. and we urge you to approve this project. thank you. >> thank you. additional public comment, tim colin and todd david. good evening, commissioners. tim colin on behalf of the housing action coalition. and i should say that i believe the project sponsors came to us in july and presented a project. this is sort of one of the
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surprises. we don't normally get involved in projects like this. we generally have a threshold of 10 units or greater. but they asked to present to us and we agreed to review it. and on behalf of the members of the endorsement committee, they liked the project. they liked it an awful lot. felt that it's exactly what you heard, it's good urban infill. it's good use of scarce land in san francisco. and, in fact, felt that this is a good looking design. and putting this development at this location to our members was a higher use of the land than preserving a 1960s land use pattern that is not very intensive. it doesn't make much sense any more. it is not an architecturally distinguished area there. this is a far better design. so, what our members said was we would support this project and endorse it subject to two
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conditions. that a landscaping plan be adopted and it looks like there is a well qualified landscape architect involved in this. number one. and number two, that the owner made the commitment to maintain the stairs, maintain the open space and the landscapings as it was a condition of approval of the project. it's not perceptible. the images you've seen, it doesn't disrupt the skyline, it did you tellxction obstruct anybody. this is a good use of the land and i think it should be supported subject to those two conditions. * >> go ahead. good evening, commissioners. my name is todd david and i am the co-founder of the san francisco parent political action committee. often in san francisco there is a lot of discussion of family flight and earlier this year,
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in fact, supervisor farrell held a hearing on why families leave and why families stay in san francisco. and the san francisco parent political action firmly believes there are basically four things needed to keep families in the city. one is great public schools. two is great rec and park programs. three is jobs. and four is housing for families. this project provides two multi-unit -- excuse me, two multi-bedroom units that is perfect for families. i believe there's a three bedroom unit and a four bedroom unit. and, so, to me if we are serious about keeping families in san francisco and creating a city where families can thrive, this is where the rubber meets the road. it's projects like these that families can live in. -- that allows for families to stay in san francisco. thank you very much.
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* hello, commissioners. shelly bradford bell and i am here supporting this project for a variety of reasons. one is it is very good infill housing. we have done a lot of looking at that on the east side of the city and it's been problematic on the west side of the city. and i think with this type of thoughtful project that makes infill housing a good idea. this development was built in the '50s. it's 60 years of having not seen change and i totally understand why neighbors would be concerned. that's why i think this project, this particular project the way it's stepped up the hill, the way it was landscaped, it has rooftop gardens, it has hanging gardens on it, it's to ensure that there is still that sense of
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open space that is there. now, the property that it's on, as you know, is part of the existing 70 crestline. it will not impact at all the public right-of-way and there is every intention of ensuring that that is landscaped. and why have a derelict piece of open space when you can have a real landscape piece? this is going to be more inviting to the german tourists and the other tourists that wander up and down the hill and go to twin peaks because it's going to be safer. right now, you've seen the pictures of the area and the fact that it's overgrown and hanging. it brings about the possibility of all kinds of scary criminal elements. i do believe that by landscaping it we make it more inviting to not only the community, but to the tourists who come to twin peaks. we make it easable so that the
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residents who park at the top of the hill feel a nice safe way of coming down the hill. and i think we have to start to really balance things. our environmental review said that there was no impact on open space, said there was no impact on any plant species or animal species by this development. yet from a design perspective, the open space was an issue. and i believe that you're seeing a building that is not only well designed and even staff said if it were anyplace else in the city, they would love it. and i think you're seeing a building that is not only well designed, but one that fits perfectly into that one piece of infill and really starts to change the character of an old development and really start to bring in a new, more energized look that does continue to bring people through that walkway. so, i hope that you will not take dr and you will approve this project. thank you.
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good evening, commissioners. my name is rodrigo sanchez, construction engineer for the project. this is a beautiful well designed landscaping. one of the thoughts the planning staff said this could potentially set a precedent, that it may create typical pattern of new infillmore than the wedges of the other buildings. commissioners, this is the only wedge where you can actually build a building that will meet residential architectural planning guidelines, the only location we can do this. even after we build this four-unit building, we will have a gap between buildings that is wider than some of the gaps that exist within the older development. wider than two locations, we will have at least 2-1/2 feet,
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more than we have in the other open space. in addition to that, my client is willing to rebuild the concrete stairs, landscape it, maintain it, create a passage -- several people in opposition have discussed the issue of using that right-of-way and passage. of course. they're preserving it. we're putting lights, we're making it safer. we're making it structurally sound. and we will maintain it. and if we need to make it creative [speaker not understood], we will make it. but we are committed to preserving the right-of-way. this is a beautiful design, landscaping. we have been working on this for four years. i have a great deal of respect for mr. wang. i've worked with him for years.
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he suggested some changes. we incorporated everything that planning suggested for us. our team has responded to every single suggestion that was made by planning. please, support this wonderful infill project and help families stay in san francisco. thank you. >> any additional public comment? okay. seeing none, the public comment portion is closed. commissioner antonini. >> thank you. as a west side resident, i drive through here frequently. when i'm coming across town, i think this is a very good project and it starts to help us to meet some of the housing demand in a very small way. and we are limited in the number of sites we have available, but i've talked to tim colin in the past about taking a trip. there are some, there are some opportunity sites and if you say you're losing your open
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space, all you have to do is look at the rendering across the street that shows a huge area on the other side of garden side where there is nothing built. and even if some additional structures were ever built there, you've got the whole area of twin peaks that is adjacent to twin peaks boulevard and garden side and other streets that are open space. and, so, i think this has been very well done. as was pointed out, there is a 19-foot wide space where the steps are and a fairly, more generous space than was the case with the other developments on the other side. and, so, i think that -- and it does provide some good infill housing, a couple of which are larger units. so, i think this would be a good addition to the area. and the landscaping and the improvement of the stairway there would make it a lot more
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friendly because at night it is a little bit, you know, there isn't a lot of lighting in there and it would help to make it a little more inviting for pedestrians who might be walking along in there. >> commissioner wu. >> what what the interaction with the project sponsor on this project and how did we get to the point the project sponsor worked with the department four years but now there is a suggestion to disapprove? >> the reason is that when we send out notice of building permit -- incomplete submittal and the applicant did not respond immediately. that's why there is a lapse in time. >> and i might add, commissioner, there had been communication with the project sponsor. and we had expressed -- the
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department expressed concern about this is a potential infill and our inability to support that. after doing research and the history of the property, previous applications had come through, they had -- the original proposal was presented to senior management and they came back with some alternatives. we essentially told them if they were continuing to pursue the project, that's fine. but we insist that they put their best foot forward. whatever we were taking to the commission, even though we did not support the project, that it was the best project that they could present to the commission. there had been a series of lag i guess with a lack of response on earlier communications on this application, 2009 building permit application. >> okay, thank you. >> commissioner antonini. >> well, unless there are other comments, i would move to not
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take dr and approve the project. >> second. >> commissioner moore. >> i'd like to get a slightly better understanding what the residential design team used as an argument to not support the project. i see a lot of references to light and air, which is basically not within the purview of what we normally decide on. we're being told over and over again that is not an argument. i do not really see that as the only one. is there something in the history of the project that -- the design -- >> the department's position -- and again, it was as the project sponsor said, the building itself is an elegant design. from the residential design team's position, the designer was great. the location is the issue. it was an infill on a development that had established a series and patterns of open spaces that had just been part of the
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integral development back in the '60s. that had been presented. an earlier development some years back had been presented and had been denied. the position of the department was that we felt that that was an integral part of that project, that design. the maintenance of that open space was important to the overall development pattern. again, they looked at a couple of different designs. one was much higher in proportion and they actually did not -- this latest prop sail -- proposal before the commission, they did esthetic improvements and green roughs. that is the project being presented. but our position is still the department has been that we felt it was more appropriate to keep that as an open space than a potential development site. >> i'm actually, to be very honest, quite surprised about that assessment. i do not find the open space an
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intentionally designed open space. it looks to me more like left over pie shaped wedges of the hillside where people couldn't find the proper rectangular geometry or the ways we design units today. and i think it actually would add something to the interest of the project to insert some newer building forms for which this project becomes a slightly more interesting balance. i do not find any undue features on these wedge shape spaces. if the project that is in front much us today would have basically eliminated connectivity, i would have a different attitude than seeing a group of potentially well landscaped and interesting stairs still connect with a larger idea of open space and creating a certain sense of symmetry which these wedge shape sizes convey. i'd like to contrast to park merced where we had an historic open space of significant
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importance designed by a noted landscape architect by which the arguments of preserving open space relative to changes were never discussed. so, those two projects came in mind to me as the ultimate contradiction with how we look at open space we want to maintain or open space where we discretely insert an element, but still maintain more contemporary interpretation or enhancement of open space. and the way i see it, proposed by what's in front of us. i do believe that the quality of the open space, the larger experience, as one of the applicants described, meeting nature and experiencing wildlife coming through, is not diminished or eliminated by what's proposed here. the building as an architectural expression seems to my eyes what is in front of me here quite compatible, enhancing and respectful of what is there.
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it is not trying to take larger building massing, different types of stepping, excessive height or any of those things. it's basically matches or interprets it in a contemporary way. so, i myself cannot really fully support the observations of the residential design team. thank you. >> well, [speaker not understood] the resident design esthetically the structure itself, there was no -- the issue was, again, the location and the fact that it was in this infill area that had been designated as open space. you as a planning commission have the right to use your discretion if you feel that this is an appropriate infill development. staff is more inclined in this case to take a much more rigid approach to this type of proposal. >> commissioners, you have a motion and second to not take dr -- i'm sorry. >> i'm sorry. commissioner sugaya. >> thank you.
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in contrast to commissioner moore, i can't help but think when this was laid out that those little wedge shape pieces may not totally have been intentionally placed there, but they were there because of the way the buildings were designed and laid out and the way the streets curve. and, therefore, they were kind of left over spaces where buildings didn't naturally fit. but, on the other hand, right in a row with each other up the hill. so, maybe there was some conscious planning going on at that time. and whether or not there are tons of open space on top of the hill, this is a completely different kind of open space situation. and i think that, you know, the more we try to completely infill every piece of land in
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the city that we have, you know, the less and less i think it becomes livable. and quite in contrast to whoever testified that families only want recreation space and they did not mention open space is a very telling kind of survey to me. if that's the situation, then this city is in sad shape because that tells me that families who are here are only looking for active recreation and playing tennis and soccer and everything else, very organized sports, which to me does not indicate a kind of direction society should be taking in this case. i was just reading in the paper about a woman who authored a book about child rearing and her approach is to let kids do whatever they want to in a sense, and not be so controlled in organized sports and organized recreation and everything else.
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and that seems to speak to me more with respect to trying to preserve open spaces like this, which have basically no purpose in the sense of being able to play on them or run on them or run up and down. but that isn't the purpose of these kinds of spaces, and i think they should be retained. >> you know, it's kind of interesting looking at the aerial picture of this. and one of the first lessons i learned about building construction is that building anything with a curve is much more expensive than a straight line. and if you look at the a apex of these streets and how they're forced to be curved, that's why there is no building because of the point of construction. while i think there are great structures up there, obviously i think it was the same developer who did all of them at one time and probably wasn't thinking about spending any extra on building curved spaces. so, that's part of why they ended up looking like little pizza pies. i think this is probably the
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largest one, maybe the only sort of buildable one. looks like there's maybe one that's maybe nearby, but this is clearly if you're going to do something, this is the one. i'm impressed with the architecture and the consideration to maintain the stairs. i think it probably makes it a better attraction if the stairs were there when completed than they are now and a safer element. commissioner antonini. >> in terms of open space, i mean, not going back to the distant past, but telegraph and russian hills were very densely built, but most people feel they're quite attractive and appropriate places to live and we were able to capture the top of telegraph hill as an open space. but the sides of the hills were pretty densely built and i'm not saying we should do that entirely on twin peaks, but, you know, i think where this opportunity presents itself to build a building which will be probably architecturally the
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best up there, i think that we should do it and i would support the project. >> commissioner sugaya. >> following the logic of building an open space, if there weren't a garden there now and it was just what is being characterized as this particular open space, we would be approving apartment projects up and down the [speaker not understood] steps. >> commissioners, there is a motion to not take dr and approve. commissioner sugaya. >> aye. >> commissioner sugaya? >> aye. >> [speaker not understood]. >> and commission president fong? >> so moved, commissioners, that motion passes 5 to 1. commissioners, that places you under item 20 for case no. 2012.1102d, 88 28th street, request for discretionary review. this is an abbreviated dr.
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>> good evening, planning commission, southwest [speaker not understood]. this would allow the alteration of an existing single-family residence by constructing a rear two-story horizontal addition and any partial third story [speaker not understood] middle residence with [speaker not understood] at the front and rear. the property is located at 88 28th street. the adr was filed by an abutting residence [speaker not understood]. it is still consistent with residential guidelines. [speaker not understood]. the adjacent residents to the east is two stories over a raised basin. this property, the subject property is a key lot in lot
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three residential properties, real property line above the property line above the subject parcel. the shallow rear yards of these abutting properties is somewhat of a typical feature in this neighborhood. the residential design team [speaker not understood] any reduction in light and privacy of the properties to the west and the impacts should not be considered unusual given the blockblock's established building pattern. the residence along -- that abut the side property on subject property, you have 12 to 15-foot setback which is an established pattern in this neighborhood. some buildings in this area, you have a greater massing than proposed in this project. planning department has determined this addition, would not create a significant adverse impact to the abutting residence or

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